There were celebrations all round as almost 100 students from Charles Sturt University's Dubbo campus graduated yesterday at the Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre.
Watched on by 250 family and friends, they concluded years of study and many will now take their first step towards a full-time career. For others, there will be a career change.
Among those who received their degrees yesterday were a group of 16 from the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health.
There were a total of 11 graduates in the Bachelor of Nursing, four from the midwifery graduate diploma and one who completed their masters of midwifery.
All 11 of the nursing graduates have been employed by the Western NSW Local Health District (LHD) and they will start a 12-month program that provides experience in the different aspects of nursing.
Dubbo School of Nursing program director Lyn Croxon said it was exciting to know all the students had already secured full-time employment.
"Graduations are an extremely big deal for graduates, family and for their lecturers," Ms Croxon said.
"We are very proud of our graduates and look forward to their successful future.
"It's great that all of our students have been able to get employment and all have been able to stay in the Dubbo region.
"That's a really big achievement and something we are really proud of."
Dee Stringer, Angie Hawke and Ali Grabianski all graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing and they will start working at Dubbo Hospital on February 9.
Dee and Angie both decided to go back to university to start a career change. Dee had been working in IT, while Angie was a fitness instructor.
For Dee there was extra challenge of juggling the work and home life. Along with her husband Louis, they had to raise their five children, Harry, Ella, Grace, Isla and Elyse and she also worked a part-time job while still finding the time to study.
Ali went to university straight after finishing year 12 at St John's College. She initially started a dual paramedics and nursing degree at Bathurst before choosing to focus on the nursing degree and transferring back to Dubbo.
All three graduates said they were extremely grateful to be able to be able to study in their home town.
"The convenience of being able to go to university here in Dubbo instead of having to go to Sydney or do it by distance is fantastic," she said.
Amie Gough completed her Bachelor of Nursing at CSU in 2003 before doing a diploma in Midwifery in 2004. She completed her Masters degree part-time over the last three years.
Amie said she had no hesitation in choosing CSU to complete it because of her positive experience the first time. She has also started working part-time as a lecturer at CSU Dubbo.
"I did my Masters because I intend to get into clinical education and it allows me to do that. I am working casually at CSU and in the future I would consider ding something like that on a full-time basis," Amie said.
On Tuesday afternoon students at CSU Orange graduated and Wednesday and Thursday will see students at the Bathurst campus graduate.